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Traps To Your Happiness: Part 7 (The Circumstances Edition)

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Traps To Your Happiness: Part 7 (The Circumstances Edition)

Almost all of us believe we will finally be happy once something changes in our lives. Depending on who we are, the changes we believe will bring us happiness could include finding a different (or better) job, a different (or better) home, a different (or better – or new) spouse, or [insert the different or better change you are hoping for]. The truth is, we all believe that if some aspect our personal or professional circumstances change we can finally achieve happiness. But this belief is wrong.

While it is a good thing to want to improve and trade up in life, it is a bad thing to base our happiness solely on achieving the results we want. The reason is because the results we are hoping to get often only leave us temporarily satisfied (if and) once we get them – and therefore they leave us temporarily happy. But it gets worse. If we don’t know whether or not we can actually get the results we want – if we can’t control the process or timing or even the outcome of the results we want – we become very insecure. We become fearful. We start to compromise or manipulate or force our way into the results we think will bring us that elusive happiness. And in the process, our happiness diminishes because we are too stressed out or worked up over how we might not get what we want or what could go wrong to truly appreciate all of the other things that are going right in our lives.

The reality is, we will all experience a range of different circumstances in life. Rich or poor, young or old, all of us will one day or another live the good, the bad, and the ugly. But seasons of the good (circumstances), the bad (circumstances), and the ugly (circumstances) are all only temporary. They might not feel temporary. But they are. If we want to break out of basing our happiness on finally getting every circumstance we have longed hoped for – of living what we define as the “perfect life” (however we individually define this) – we will need to stop believing that only happy circumstances can lead to a happy life. What leads to a happy life is liking yourself, embracing that you’re here to learn valuable life lessons, and having the faith (the BELIEF) that the path you’re on can be enjoyed whether you see the rainbow at the end of the road or if you’re presently on a detour.

Dr. Rob Carpenter - known simply as “Dr. Rob” - is a transformational author, filmmaker, and CEO whose mission is to entertain, empower, and uplift people and humanity.

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Disney

5 Things Beauty & The Beast Teaches Adults About Not Fitting In

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5 Things Beauty & The Beast Teaches Adults About Not Fitting In

One reason why so many Disney movies are timeless is because of the truths they teach us. Beauty & The Beast is no exception.

The film follows a booksmart daughter (“Belle”) of a local inventor who gets lost in the woods and is taken as a prisoner in a castle by a mysterious Beast. To find her missing father, Belle searches the woods and discovers the castle herself – before being taken prisoner by the Beast too. The Beast, who must get Belle to fall in love with him by his 21st birthday to break a curse over his life, tries to force her to but she escapes because he is too rigid and controlling – he is trying to force her to be something she is not through lots of rules and regulations. Eventually, though, Belle returns to the Beast after the local townspeople discover the castle and attempt to destroy it (Belle realizes that she does love Beast and wants to be with him the rest of her life).

While there is a lot to unpack to this film – about love, prejudice, and other things – one of the biggest lessons Beauty & The Beast imparts is on how to be okay with not ‘fitting in.’ This is important because regardless of whether we’re children or adults, not fitting in is something we will continuously struggle with so having more inspiration in this area of our lives is important. Here are 5 things the movie teaches us.

  1. We will fit in some places, but not in other places. Belle was seen as weird in her hometown because she read a lot, didn’t date, and seemed to keep to herself. As a result, she didn’t really fit in there because the townspeople thought women shouldn’t read and should just get married. On the other hand – unlike in her hometown – once Belle entered the castle with the Beast, she was more accepted and valued by the people there (the servants of the house) then she was by the people in her hometown. Likewise for us, some places and groups we will just not fit into (no matter who we are), but other ones we will (no matter who we are). Instead of us trying to be chameleons and change just to fit into a group we want acceptance from, we should simply find people and groups that will accept us no questions asked.
  1. Other people will always try to mold us into their image. Both the Beast (and Gaston, the local arrogant townsman who was smitten for Belle) tried to make her into something she wasn’t: their version of what an acceptable wife should be. The Beast, for example, wanted her to follow his rules (without seeking her input or perspective) and Gaston wanted Belle to just blindly follow him (to make her his trophy housewife). For you and me, other people will also try to get us to become what they want us to be according to their rules and dictates. Sometimes this is good, but sometimes this is bad. We have to recognize the difference between when changing as a result of others’ influence is in our best interest and when it isn’t. 
  1. Some people will go to war with the identities we’ve chosen for ourselves. Gaston could not stand that Belle chose Beast over him, so he decided to go to war against the Beast. But, in a way, he also decided to go to war against the identity and choices Belle made for herself too (that she chose to identify with everything that Gaston wasn’t – namely the Beast). In our own lives, some people will question, challenge, belittle, dismiss, and sometimes attempt to cancel the identities and groups we choose for ourselves because they don’t think they’re good for us. This will happen over and over in our lives, no matter who we are.
  1. Those who attempt to change us will often be changed by us. The ironic thing is that even though Beast tried to change Belle through his rules, he ended up being changed by her through her influence. She was able to get him to see that his assumptions and approach to her were all wrong and he transformed into a better person as a result. When people attempt to change you and me, they will likewise be in a position to be changed by us. Not all of these people will change, but many of them will – whether they know it or not (and whether we know they change or not). Our influence in their lives will be profound and it may lead them to adopt different mindsets, approaches, and behaviors toward us (and toward others in their lives) even if just subconsciously.
  1. Our happiness is defined by who we are – not who others are trying to make us to be. Belle was completely happy to be the weird booksmart daughter of an inventor and she never tried to be anything else. Even though Beast and Gaston tried to make her into one thing, she wanted to be something entirely different. And she stood firm. For us, this can be tough to do but it is possible. If we find happiness in ourselves (and not because we’re trying to make others happy or become who they want us to be) we will be better for it.

Ultimately, Beauty and The Beast is a phenomenal film we can learn many lessons from, especially around not having to fit in. When we recognize these lessons not only will we be in better positions to carry them out in our own lives, but we just might help influence others to carry them out in their own lives as well.

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Empowerment

Who Do You Think You Are?

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Who Do You Think You Are?

The question “who do you think you are?” cuts to the heart of our self-image and self-confidence. It cuts to the heart of the goals we set for ourselves and the expectations we have for our lives.

Who we think we are is often more important than who we actually are. Let me repeat: who we think we are is often more important than who we actually are. But why? 

Our perceptions and expectations of and for ourselves determine how we act, and if we have good perceptions and expectations we will act in ways consistent with the good that we think we deserve. On the other hand, if we have mediocre perceptions and expectations of ourselves we will act in ways consistent with the mediocrity we think we deserve.

In other words, the question of “who do you think you are?” is more about perception than reality. And in the case of self-image and self-confidence, perception is greater than reality.

We are all familiar with Muhammad Ali saying “I am the greatest” so often that most of us probably believe that he was the greatest boxer of all time. What Ali understood is that his self-image and self-confidence was determined by his self-perception. And his self-perception caused him to speak and behave in ways that made him better, bigger, and bolder than his “normal” or “default-self.” His self-perception of greatness became a self-fulfilling prophecy in his life.

Of course, other athletes like Michael Jordan have done this. They’ve used their words to build themselves up and create their own self-perception and self-fulfilling prophecies – to great success. They’ve built the “inner-them” so strongly that the “outer-them” started to look like an exact replica.

But the question is, have you followed these athletes’ examples in your own life? Have you built your “inner-you” to the point your “outer-you” surrenders to it every time?

That is an odd thing to ask yourself because most of us assume that, for the kinds of lives we live – and the kinds of professions we’re in – we would be strange to talk or think about ourselves as being great. After all, isn’t this thinking only supposed to be for athletes or naturally talented or gifted people? Wouldn’t others think it strange if they caught us literally speaking (or thinking) great things about ourselves for the strategic purpose of “building our inner-selves?” If you were an accountant or post office worker, wouldn’t others thing it weird for you to say “I am great accountant, # 1 at my firm” or “I am a great postal clerk, I always deliver the mail on time with a smile.” 

But despite what others’ might think of you, what matters more is what you think of you. Your life will almost always move in the direction of your most dominant thoughts – and your dominant thoughts are determined by the words you speak over yourself and the self-perception you have for your life. If your dominant thoughts and self-perception are good, you’ll inevitably move in that direction regardless of where you currently are. So even if the perception you have of yourself does not match your reality at the moment, you can over time bend reality in the direction you want in your life.

I know the naysayers might say this is arrogant or that this gives people false hope. What if, for example, people think they are great but do not have the skills, work ethic, or habits to manifest that greatness? 

This question misses the point. The reality is that people’s work ethics and habits will start to line up with their self-perceptions bit by bit. Why? Because somebody who thinks they are great at what they do – or who wants to become great at what they do – will pursue any and all means to become great. They will pursue any and all means so that their perceptions become their reality.

But most people don’t think this way. They do not speak great words about themselves, think great thoughts about themselves, and as a consequence do not tap into the greatness within them. You don’t have to live like this. You can choose self-perceptions that create the reality you want and deserve.

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Celebrities

The Top 5 Life Lessons of Reese Witherspoon

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The Top 5 Life Lessons of Reese Witherspoon 

Reese Witherspoon is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. She is the recipient of an Oscar, Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy, and many other awards. And she is an outspoken activist and big-time producer.

Reese was raised in the South and made her breakthrough debut in the smash teen-hit Cruel Intentions and has since then acted in many other beloved hits like Big Little Lies and Little Fires Everywhere

Given all of her success, what can you and I learn from her so that we can be more successful in our own lives? 

  1. To be successful like Reese Witherspoon, we should leave our comfort zones. Reese strongly believes that we need to step outside of the familiar, easy, and comfortable in order to stretch ourselves to be more and do more. If we don’t, we will never know if we can truly fly like eagles. 
  1. To be successful like Reese Witherspoon, we should connect with other talented people. The quality of the people around us are more responsible for our success or failure than we might realize. Reese feels her ability to befriend and develop deep working relationships with the best people she can find has helped her not only reach her dreams but exceed them. We should do the same. 
  1. To be successful like Reese Witherspoon, we should be prepared. Although this might seem like a given, it is often very surprising how infrequently people are prepared for meetings or getting the job done. In my own experience in Hollywood, for example, I’ve found that many people are not prepared and it has led to unnecessary inefficiencies and obstacles that could have been avoided had everyone been ready. This is why Reese believes we should do our research so we can hit the ground running on Day 1.
  1. To be successful like Reese Witherspoon, we should think creatively. Reese feels that just because things have always been done a certain way doesn’t mean they have to continue to be done that way. Instead, new ideas or approaches can be pitched and experimented with to see if they could be better. Too often in life, though, many people like to think inside the box because it is safer – but we should never be like them (we should adopt the mottos of “creativity or bust”).
  1. To be successful like Reese Witherspoon, we should prove naysayers wrong. Being from the South herself, Reese had a lot of doubters from both her hometown AND Hollywood who questioned whether a country girl could make it in the big city. Nevertheless, she proved their doubts wrong by not only succeeding but succeeding big. You and I can do the same thing. We don’t have to argue with people, we just have to let our work speak for us.

Of course, there are other life lessons from Reese Witherspoon but these are some of my favorites. If we can learn to leave our comfort zones; connect deeply with other talented people; be prepared for every meeting and occasion; think creativity; and prove naysayers wrong we can be well on our way to being more successful like Reese Witherspoon.

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